Minnesota officials say a man who was shot by Minneapolis police early Sunday morning, prompting outrage and protests, has died.
After Jamar Clark, 24, was shot during an encounter with officers Sunday, he was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. As controversy swirled over the circumstances of the shooting, protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis on Sunday and again on Monday, with more than 50 protesters being arrested Monday night after shutting down a highway in the area.
Clark died Monday night, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) announced Tuesday. The bureau is investigating the shooting at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has also asked the Justice Department to open a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting.
“This investigation has been given top priority by the BCA, and we will diligently work on the investigation as long as that may take,” Drew Evans, superintendent of the bureau, said at a news conference Tuesday.
Authorities say that the Minneapolis police were responding to a call made before 12:45 a.m. Sunday for help from paramedics who said someone was interrupting their efforts to help an assault victim. That same person who was interrupting was also a suspect in the assault, police say.
Evans said investigators were looking into how, exactly, Clark may have been interrupting the paramedics. On Tuesday, Evans confirmed that Clark was unarmed and that no other weapons were found at the scene of the shooting.
“At some point during an altercation that ensued between the officers and the individual, an officer discharged his weapon, striking the individual,” the state Department of Public Safety said in a statement Tuesday.
Clark was brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead Monday night. His body has since been taken to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, Evans said.
— Mark Vancleave (@mvnclv) November 16, 2015
A key issue that has emerged since Sunday was whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. Activists and others have said that Clark, who was black, was in handcuffs, while authorities have said that it did not appear he was handcuffed.
Evans said Tuesday that authorities were working to determine whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot.
In her letter asking the Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into the shooting, Hodges said she had faith in state investigators but thought a federal probe would help “the interests of transparency and community confidence.”
The police officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, and state investigators are setting up interviews with them, Evans said. Once they are interviewed, their names will be released, he added.
Investigators have reviewed multiple videos that were taken in the area of the shooting, including from a nearby ambulance, a public housing authority camera and cellphone video taken by other people in the vicinity, he said. There is no footage from a police car’s dashboard camera or an officer’s body camera, Evans said.
“Several videos have been obtained relating to this incident, none of which capture it in its entirety,” Evans said.